We are sorry to announce the death from cancer of Kathleen Griffin, one of the three founding members of Catholic Voices, who will be remembered with great fondness by the dozens of people she trained in media interview and public speaking skills.
She died surrounded by her family and was given the last rites by her parish priest, Canon Pat Browne, and the Catholic Voices chaplain, Fr Stephen Wang.
Kathleen was a BBC radio producer working at that stage freelance when she was approached by Austen Ivereigh and Jack Valero at the end of 2009 to help organize the training for the first generation of CV speakers the following year. She remained a coordinator thereafter.
She brought to the project her immense experience as an award-winning documentary maker, writer and journalist who in addition to her work with CV lectured in media and programme production at the University of Brighton in Hastings. In the past few years she was regularly called on as a trainer for the BBC, helping to form a next generation of journalists in radio production.
Her main production work was with BBC Radio 4, where she was involved in Woman's Hour, the Food Programme, Feedback, In Touchand The Learning Curve. She won a Sony award for a BBC radio 4 series A Feast for the Eyes.
Kathleen was also a writer and journalist, whose articles were published in The Times and Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Tablet. In 2003, she published a well-received practical book about forgiveness, The Forgiveness Formula: Why Letting Go is Good for You and How to Make it Happen (London: Simon & Schuster). The book drew on her spiritual journey in response to a frightening experience she had as a child.
Kathleen was a longstanding parishioner of Holy Apostles, Pimlico, in London, where she trained readers and organized transport for the elderly.
The Board, executive committee and coordinators of Catholic Voices as well as speakers over the past seven years will remember her as the quiet, strict, camera-shy but endlessly kind organizer of dozens of trainings in media interviews and public speaking skills. She also co-authored with Austen Ivereigh an early UK edition of what would become How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice.
She was immensely practical: a strategic planner and meticulous organizer who kept everyone focussed and on schedule. In practice interviews, she was assiduous in keeping speakers down-to-earth and accessible in their language, helping Catholics to "speak human" rather than in technical church or theological terms. She was also a terrific talent spotter, seeing potential in people and had the patience to nurture them.
She also had great skill and sensitivity as a teacher, knowing what people needed and when. She liked to stand back, operating from behind the scenes, but always with a strong pastoral, maternal presence. Speakers knew they could always talk to her, sharing their fears and feelings.
Kathleen was a very private woman, once jokingly describing herself as "the most boundaried person you will ever meet". But along with her shyness, her joy and sense of humour, even during lengthy treatments for her cancer in the past few years, seldom dimmed. To those she trusted and of whom she was fond, she was an immensely loyal and giving friend.
For all of us at Catholic Voices, she is irreplaceable. We pray in thanks for her life, her gifts and all she gave to us, humanly and professionally.
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